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"VMWare Workstation" equivalent?

  • 4 September 2020
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Hi all

 

We recently converted one of our environments to AHV/Acropolis from ESX/VCenter.

 

All is well and runs just fine.

 

One of the caveats is, we have a tertiary machine we use in “disaster” type scenarios and with this machine we would use our backup solution to “backup” a VM to and run with VMWare Workstation.

 

As I understand it, Nutanix does not offer a “Workstation” type solution, so I am reaching out to hopefully receive some feedback on what a “new” solution would entail.

 

Could I build a small PC and run Community edition on it?

 

Can communtiy edition run on say an i9/32gb RAM/1TB ssd or does it need N+1 to function?

 

This way I could point my backup solution to the new cluster or have my cluster be aware of a NAS solution and ingest the AHV VM as needed in these type scenarios.

 

Any feedback will help me in the endeavor!

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Best answer by MMSW_DE 15 September 2020, 14:14

If I understand the scenario correctly, this is about “Where do we run our VMs when our only cluster is on fire?”. 

I’m quite positive that you can’t leverage any AOS or backup software feature to copy VMs to a CE cluster.

I don’t know the Veeam AHV solution and its features, but with Hycu, it’s possible to export vdisk images to e.g. network shares, where they can be converted to vmdk files that can be attached to Vmware VMs. Please note that it is only vdisks that can be offloaded this way, not complete VMs including their config. VMs will have to be prepared on the standby system. 

Tested by exporting AHV vdisk file (RAW format) from Hycu to network share, converting it to VMDK, uploading it to ESXi 5.5 datastore and attaching it to a VM that was configured similar to original Ntx VM. ESXi VM needed another reboot to take care for newly discovered devices, but basically ran fine.

Maybe any of this can be scripted for periodic vdisk exports.

 

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Hi EUSCADA,

 

Are you able to describe your environment in more specific terms? What vendor are you using for the backups?

Is my understanding correct in that you are effectively restoring a VM from a backup using VMWare Workstation?

Nutanix has several solutions documents on Commvault, Veeam, Veritas NetBackup and HYCU you can search for those in the portal.

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Hello and thanks for the reply!

 

Sorry for my delay.

 

We have a 4 node AHV cluster running Acropolis.

 

We used to have a 3 node cluster running ESX / vCenter

 

We are using Veeam as a backup solution.

 

In our old config, we had Veeam “VM Copy” a VM to a Workstation PC that we could use “in worst case scenarios” and on that PC we would launch the VM within workstation.

 

Now that we have migrated to AHV, we don’t have a solution to “Copy a VM off our cluster and run it on a PC”.

 

I hope this makes sense!

 

We are looking at Community Edition to install on an old server and see if this will solve our issue.

 

Thanks for any additional input.

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Thank you for explaining. I feel like you could go with local snapshots and recover a VM from a snapshot. You don’t have to do in-place restore so you can have a copy of the VM and then bin it if you no longer need it.

So Data Protection> Create Protection Domain (add VMs of interest to the list)>configure schedule (local only), set number of snapshots to keep.

To recover a VM there is an option against the snapshot to recover (PD>select PD of interest> local snapshots). You don’t have to recover all VMs and they are recovered in a powered off state so you have a chance to edit networking settings if you need to.

Let me know if that helps.

Userlevel 2
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If I understand the scenario correctly, this is about “Where do we run our VMs when our only cluster is on fire?”. 

I’m quite positive that you can’t leverage any AOS or backup software feature to copy VMs to a CE cluster.

I don’t know the Veeam AHV solution and its features, but with Hycu, it’s possible to export vdisk images to e.g. network shares, where they can be converted to vmdk files that can be attached to Vmware VMs. Please note that it is only vdisks that can be offloaded this way, not complete VMs including their config. VMs will have to be prepared on the standby system. 

Tested by exporting AHV vdisk file (RAW format) from Hycu to network share, converting it to VMDK, uploading it to ESXi 5.5 datastore and attaching it to a VM that was configured similar to original Ntx VM. ESXi VM needed another reboot to take care for newly discovered devices, but basically ran fine.

Maybe any of this can be scripted for periodic vdisk exports.

 

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Hi @MMSW_DE and thanks for the reply.

 

So the idea of running a CE cluster as a “Remote cluster” and having a backup solution pointing to it wont work?

 

Semi unfortunate as our previous solution with ESX and Veeam “copying the entire VM” to a stand alone PC worked just fine…

 

We honestly forgot about this piece until we were “all in” with AHV.

 

Ooops! HA

 

I will look into exporting the vdisk images and see how that goes, although I don’t have experience with that piece, although sounds straight forward.

 

One more question, how does one convert a a vdisk to vmdk? With AHV Move?

 

Thanks much for your reply

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There is a commandline tool called qemu-img that lets you process vdisk images in all sorts of directions.

Even if having a second cluster for proper DR is out of reach for you (as it certainly is for us), you will quickly gain confidence in the stability of your AHV cluster. Set up local snapshots as suggested by Alona to cover the majority of short-term VM issues and be sure to have your Veeam backups out of range of your assumed disaster.

A four node cluster and the number/size of workloads you can run on it sounds like a lot to chew on for VMware WS (or CE) anyway.

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Thanks again for the reply, appreciate it.

 

Our environment is unique, in all reality we only need 1 VM to run our entire process. (The one we would copy off to a tertiary machine)…

 

Our Veeam backups are sent to 2x locations and one is outside of the server rack.

 

We have been brainstorming having all of our clusters talk to each other (we have 3 although this one is the first endeavor of getting out from the VMWare grip and converted to AHV), but that will have to happen after the other 2 clusters are converted to AHV.

 

Thanks much for your replies

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Hi again @MMSW_DE 

 

Just curious, in the HYCU software interface, what is the “job” called to reach into the Nutanix storage and export the vdisk images?

 

Better yet, is there a way (ncli driven?) that I can grab the vdisk and copy it out of the Nutanix storage?

 

It does not appear to be a feature in the Veeam software at this time.

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Ah, actually just found this

 

https://next.nutanix.com/how-it-works-22/ahv-vdisk-part-1-where-are-they-stored-33618


👍

 

Userlevel 2
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in the HYCU software interface, what is the “job” called to reach into the Nutanix storage and export the vdisk images?

Exporting disk images to a network share is an option when you restore a VM with Hycu. It uses its own backups for export, which makes sense because it may not be wise to download a live vdisk file from a running VM.